For quick lube owners and managers, it can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks of running a quick lube. But it’s also important to drive the long-term success of your business.
Sue Ackley, an AOCA member who served as president of AOCA from 2004 to 2006, has given this topic a lot of thought. One area she says all quick lubes should focus on is tailoring your business to meet the needs of the newest generation. Ackley spoke about the changes she’s implemented to meet the needs of millennials and why other quick lube owners should do the same. Below are highlights from that interview.
AOCA: What got you thinking about millennials?
Ackley: I guess we see younger people are coming in, and you’ll ask them how they found us. They’ll say, “I went online,” or “A friend told me to look at your website.” They are definitely multimedia — they’re on Facebook, Yelp and using other websites. I decided we needed to start investigating all of this and work toward implementing it in our own shop.
AOCA: What changes have you made?
Ackley: The first thing we did was develop a user-friendly website (http://bit.ly/1rWE6NX). For example, young people don’t always call to make appointments for a service, so we have it where can make an appointment online.
We also have a Facebook page, and that’s been great — even better than our website. On Facebook, we’ll post a special, new services or recognize somebody for something outstanding they’ve done. That goes out to not only our followers, but also to the followers of those who are “liking” our posts.
It can be a lot of fun, too. One example is a post I did about Lynn Barteau, who manages two of my stores. I posted a picture of her, as well as a comment saying that Lynn had been with us for six years and for however many “likes” her photo gets, she gets a dollar. After we got to 600 likes, I needed to put a cap on it! So, I said to her, “Rather than giving you the cash, I’m going to take you to iFLEX.” We had more than 600 likes, and I took her to iFLEX, so it was a learning moment for her, beneficial to me and definitely worth every penny we spent. She was elated, and it turned out to be a great experience!
AOCA: Why should quick lube owners care about millennials?
Ackley: They’re the next group of customers that will be in your stores all the time. If you don’t capture them now and be on the cutting-edge, you’re going to lose them. You have your regular customers, usually older, the people who have come to you for a long time, and they trust you and they know they’ll get good service. But times change, and nothing lasts forever. Everybody needs to look beyond where they are today.
There are people out there who say, “I’m just going to do oil changes.” Well, if you’re not doing other services, you don’t know what will happen with oil changes, or how long the drain intervals will be. When I hear somebody say, “I’d rather have higher ticket averages,” I think, “Well, that’s great, but you’ve got to have the cars, as well.” That’s why it’s so important to get the next generation of folks frequenting your store — if you don’t get them now, you’ll lose them.